HENDERSON – The Palestine Wildcats extended their win streak to three following their 17-8 road victory against the Henderson Lions Friday night.
The storyline of Friday's District 9-4A battle is the continued dominance of Palestine's defense. They held the Lions to their second-lowest scoring output of the season and their lowest total at home since Sept. 6 of last year.
Palestine jumped out in front early following their 13-play, 5:32, drive that ended with a two-yard touchdown run from Shedrick Dudley.
Henderson was unable to take advantage of a trick play that nearly resulted in an interception, a holding penalty that gave Palestine a first-and-20, and a false start on the next play.
Palestine was able to overcome those penalties thanks to a 19-yard run from Jermeny Walker and another big run from Jakaryon Conley to set them up on the Lions' five.
Then began the flurry of punts from both sides. Palestine forced a three-and-out on Henderson's first two offensive series – their first possession ended in an Elvin Calhoun and Dawaylyn Lewis.
The Wildcats made a living of reaching opponent territory and then being forced to punt. On their first possession of the second quarter, a par of runs for Jerrod Walker and Jermeny Walker set Palestine upon Henderson's 40 before their drive eventually stalled.
The Lions final drive before halftime ended in another punt.
Palestine's defense kept the pressure on Henderson's offense in the second half. The Lions' first drive of the third quarter ended in Elvin Calhoun sack.
Palestine was forced to punt as well, giving Henderson another chance to tie it at seven. Again, the Wildcats defense stood tall and forced another punt.
After a second straight three-and-out, Henderson began their drive at their own 36. Following a four-yard run from Toabius Jacobs, the Wildcat defense forced the first turnover of the night on a fumble at was recovered by Calhoun.
One play later, Jarrod Walker connected with Tawalan Cook on a 38-yard touchdown bomb.
The Lions were unable to respond and were able to pin them on their five-yard line. Three straight runs to close out the quarter netted 35 yards. Palestine's offense appears to pick up momentum before a fumble gave the ball to the Lions on their own 40.
Two plays later, Donovan Davis found Devin Phillips for a 45-yard touchdown. The two-point try was successful.
Up 14-8. the Wildcats continued to lean on their run game to close the game. The Wildcats were able to burn nearly six minutes of the game clock before settling for a field goal.
Henderson had the Wildcats stopped on the drive on a third-and-two until an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty gave them a fresh set of downs on the Lions' seven.
A second sack from Shedrick Dudley and three straight incompletions placed the final nail in the coffin for Henderson.
Palestine hosts Athens Friday, 10/23.